I read your columns regularly and have benefited from your advice many times concerning our 7-year-old wheaten terrier. I need your advice concerning our 5-year-old Holland Lop rabbit. She is strictly indoors, in-cage only at night, well trained and loved. She has been healthy all along, but our vet diagnosed an abscess under her chin related to a molar. The surgery seems invasive and not always successful -- it may recur. Do you know of an alternative treatment for this?
T.L., Toms River, NJ Oct 18, 2009
Your rabbit's dental problem is serious because infection could spread into the jawbone and bloodstream, as if often the case with dogs and cats with periodontal disease. When the latter happens, micro-abscesses can develop in various organs like the liver and kidneys, and infection may develop in the heart or lungs.Anesthesia is always a risk, and surgical removal of a deeply rooted tooth takes careful expertise. However, I do recommend the surgery. This should be preceded by a course of antibiotic treatment (oral) seven to 10 days prior to the extraction of the diseased tooth. A more conservative approach, following radiographic assessment of the extent of jaw infection, would be to simply treat with appropriate antibiotics and boost the rabbit's immune system with nutraceutical supplements, especially super-antioxidants and anti-inflammatory herbs such as skullcap and rosemary, and various trace minerals such as zinc and selenium that are in a variety of organically grown fruits, nuts and vegetables. Small portions daily will be good rabbit medicine. Alternatively, experiment with very small amounts of top-quality human supplements such as New Chapter's Zyflamend and Immunity Take Care herbal extract.
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